Justice Minister Naomi Long has announced plans to target the assets of paramilitaries and criminals by introducing unexplained wealth orders.
The orders came into play in Britain three years ago, but the collapse of Stormont delayed their extension here.
The legislation will be used to pursue major criminals and paramilitaries who use family members or friends to hide their assets.
The south east Antrim UDA, republican fuel launderers and cigarette smugglers, and major drug gangs will be among the main targets for the authorities.
Mrs Long will be working with Home Secretary Priti Patel to progress the measures, which she hopes will be in place by the autumn.
An unexplained wealth order, which is obtained in court, forces an individual to reveal the source of assets worth more than £50,000.
Those who fail to give account can have their property seized.
The Justice Minister said she would also be working to ensure that the authorities here secured the same powers as those in the rest of the UK to "obtain electronic data from overseas service providers for the purposes of criminal investigations and prosecutions".
She told MLAs yesterday that it was a significant step in the fight against "the harm that criminality and paramilitarism causes within communities".
Confiscation orders have already led to £1.3m of assets being seized from major criminals here in the past year, and security sources expect that to significantly increase with the new measures.
Security sources claim that the south east Antrim UDA takes in over £2.5m a year from drug dealing.
Those leading the fight against paramilitary crime claim that its leaders have built a property and business empire in the name of close associates.
Unexplained wealth orders cover bank accounts, property, vehicles, jewellery, and art. They also include cash won through gambling.
A key factor is that the items seized do not have to be in the name of a criminal, and can belong to associates.
Welcoming the moves announced by Mrs Long at Stormont, Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie said that Northern Ireland was finally "catching up with the rest of the UK".
He said that life must be made "as uncomfortable as possible for those who create so much misery for society and whose lifestyles are funded by criminality". The Upper Bann representative said: "It is essential that law enforcement agencies have the necessary powers and tools available to them to tackle criminality in all its forms, and to go after ill-gotten gains of individuals within such groups.
"Seeing them stripped of their assets will send an important message to both organised criminals and the wider community that this situation cannot and will not be tolerated."
SDLP MLA and Policing Board member Dolores Kelly said her party had been asking for the introduction of unexplained wealth orders for years.
"The only way to beat the criminal thugs living in big houses with expensive cars is to give the police and courts the power to take their operations apart," she said.
"They have built a comfortable life for themselves on the misery of others.
"It's time to end that.
"I am keen to see these powers commenced quickly and police use them effectively to rid our communities of the influence of organised criminality."
SDLP justice spokesperson Sinead Bradley said the unexplained wealth orders would help "take apart organised gangs".
But she added: "If we're serious about eradicating criminality and paramilitarism we need a much broader intervention to create opportunity in communities blighted by their influence. We need to minimise the manipulative choke that criminals have in places where people feel left behind."
In the Republic the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) - set up in the wake of the 1996 murder of journalist Veronica Guerin - pursues the assets of criminals. Its Northern Ireland equivalent, the Assets Recovery Agency, was abolished in 2008.
The organisation's former head Alan McQuillan believes it was "a casualty" of the peace process.
"The Government wanted to encourage certain groups in a peaceful direction and, if that involved turning a blind eye towards crime, so be it," he said.
The PSNI's Paramilitary Crime Taskforce, established in 2017, and the force's Asset Confiscation and Enforcement Team now work alongside the National Crime Agency in tackling crime bosses.
"They have been increasingly successful," Mr McQuillan said.
"But I still think that Northern Ireland maybe needs a stand-alone agency devoted to recovering assets or a ramp-up in National Crime Agency activity."